Birthday of a Saint

Mother TeresaAugust 26 marks the 106th anniversary of an Albanian-Indian Catholic nun and missionary that changed the world. Devoted to charitable work with the poorest of the poor, Anjese Gonxhe (little flower) was became known to the world as Mother Teresa of Calcutta. In typical Teresa style, she considered August 27, the day she was baptized, as her true birthday.

By age 12, she was convinced that her life should be handed over to a religious life. At the age of 18 she left her home in Skopje, Macedonia, to join the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland where her first task was to learn English in order to serve her religious order in India.

Her first desire for a new name as a sister of the convent was Therese, after Therese de Lisieux, patron saint of missionaries. However, she was informed that another nun had made the same choice before her, so she happily settled for the Spanish version, Teresa, and took her vows in 1931. She first served as a teacher in an India devastated by the Bengal famine of 1942 that brought death and misery to the to the city of Calcutta. The famine was soon followed by political violence that was particularly oppressive to the poor. These were the people she wanted to serve, but she would have to leave the convent to do so.

In 1948, she became simply Mother Teresa, replacing her nun’s habit with a simple, white cotton sari with a blue border. A year later, through her example, young women joined her work, leading to the foundation of a new religious community, Missionaries of Charity.

While looking for a home I walked and walked till my arms and legs ached. I thought how much they (the poor) must ache in body and soul, looking for a home, food and health. Then, the comfort of Loreto [her former congregation] came to tempt me. “You have only to say the word and all that will be yours again”, the Tempter kept on saying … Of free choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your Holy will in my regard. I did not let a single tear come.

She opened a hospice for the dying and those with leprosy that led to clinics throughout India. She took in endless numbers of homeless and orphaned children. Her work encouraged expansion to South America, Italy, Tanzania and Austria, and later even to the United States and dozens of other countries. Priests begged to join the movement of caring for poor souls and by 1984 the Missionaries of Charity combined with resources from the priesthood with almost 450 brothers and 5,000 sisters worldwide.

By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.

After a heart attack in 1983, she was never truly healthy again, even with a pacemaker. In 1996 she broke her collarbone, was stricken with malaria, and fought heart failure. She died on September 5, 1997. At the time, her 610 missions were active in 123 countries. She is the epitome of charity and service to the poor, the sick, and the disadvantaged and remains today as the highest example of service to humanity.

Mother Teresa coverMany books and articles have been written about the life, suffering and service of Mother Teresa. Lectio author, Robert Garrity, Ave Maria University, has written an insightful, beautifully crafted proposition that Teresa, through God’s divine intervention, originated a distinctive form of theological mysticism defined as both seeing Jesus Christ and serving Jesus Christ in the poorest of the poor.

In Mother Teresa’s Mysticism: A Christo-Ecclesio-Humano-centric Mysticism, Fr. Garrity suggests that God’s gift to Teresa of this experiential knowledge of Christ’s presence in today’s world has the power to be a significant source of theological and pastoral renewal in the Church of the twenty-first century.

Happy Birthday, Saint Teresa of Calcutta! Thank you for your inspiration, life, and devotion. Pray for us!

Two Powerful New Releases

Our new spring book releases couldn’t be more diverse: a scholarly work that fills the gap in any study of evangelization, and an inspirational albeit practical solution to harness the power of the Resurrection.

Sample excerpts and details are available:

Evangelization: Building and Rebuilding the Kingdom

Evangelization: Building and Rebuilding the Kingdom: Issues of Language, Culture, and Conversion

Evangelization coverLeon F. Strieder’s 492-page scholarly work is not a cursory presentation of evangelization—quite the opposite. While much has been written on evangelization and conversion, many liturgical studies lack a good sense of the history of evangelization, and even the historical studies lack a liturgical understanding of the methods of conversion.

Other studies may address early Christianity or the spread of Christianity to England or Germany, or the mission to the New World or the Far East or Africa, but they are without much insight as to what was operative in the methods of conversion and evangelization. Strieder addresses head-on the importance of language translations and how difficult it is to faithfully express textual meaning in a different language. He adds new underpinnings now needed to speak to our times. When it comes to the issues of language, culture, and conversion, this book bridges all gaps. #evangelization

This book is recommended for courses in Evangelization, The Early Church, Church History, and Church Development courses.

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Pope Francis: Legacy of Vatican II

cover: Pope Francis

Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II

Recently released is Professor Eduardo J. Echeverria’s study Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II.

Catholics and Protestants alike tend to use Pope Francis’s pronouncements to justify the correctness of their own viewpoints on Vatican Council II and other religious and theological matters. Professor Echeverria does a thorough job of drawing from the pre-papal writings of Jorge Mario Bergoglio and the man’s current papal writings, talks, and sermons to discover and document the continuity in thought Francis has with the councils.

Echeverria compares Francis’s discourse with that of his papal predecessors in the era since Vatican II. He draws heavily on the documents of Vatican II and the theology of doctrinal development stemming from the First Vatican Council and embraced by Vatican II. Not left out is the modern ecumenical movement from both the Reformed and Catholic side.

This book draws high praise from prominent theologians whose full endorsements can be found here.

It is an ideal text for basic theology courses, courses on the modern Church for seminarians or divinity students, or courses about the influence of Vatican II. It’s a must-read for those wanting to learn about Pope Francis and the future of Christianity. A special strength of the book is the respect with which it treats the Reformed Tradition.

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An Academic Publisher’s Trifecta

Brennan R. Hill

Brennan R. Hill

Lectio Publishing’s founder/principal, author, and former CTA President, Brennan R. Hill will attend and exhibit at the College Theology Society’s (CTS) annual meeting at Saint Vincent College May 29-June 1 and the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) convention June 5-8. We hope to attend the American Academy of Religion (AAR) meeting November 22-25, but this is a “big” convention-like meeting, and we’re still a “small” indie-like publisher. If we make San Diego, it will be our first trifecta as a new academic publisher.

Please accept our most cordial invitation to stop by our table in the exhibitor hall to say hello to Brennan and consider one of our three titles for your personal library or classroom.

Religion Today: An Integral Approach 
From the phenomenon of individuals becoming “spiritual but not religious” to multiple religions’ views on homosexuality, Dr. Brennan R. Hill uses multiple perspectives to look at how religion relates to today’s society.

Sacramental Theology: 50 Years After Vatican II
On the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) renowned Franciscan theologian Kenan B. Osborne applies pristine logic to systematically demonstrate how Council changes in church theology consequently reconstruct sacramental theology in both meaning and celebration.

Theology of the Body, Extended: The Spiritual Signs of Birth, Impairment, and Dying
Susan Windley-Daoust, a passionate enthusiast of the theology of John Paul II, spiritual director, and Assistant Professor of Theology at SMUM, explores what it would mean to read the Theology of Body as a spiritual anthropology that points toward a desire for God, especially at times of childbirth, impairment, and dying.

Three publications. Three inspirational authors. Trifecta!